Good news, goal line technology will be used in the 2014 World Cup. So, we will have an expensive technological solution to a problem that occurs once in a blue moon and which can easily be solved by the TV technology that already exists; as it was with the Lampard `goal’. As usual, the football hierarchy has taken an inordinate amount of time to come up with a solution that is both expensive and unnecessary. A fourth official, sat by a Sky monitor could adjudicate on virtually every contentious situation.
Also, where does this FIFA decision leave UEFA’s President? “I am against technology,” said Michel Platini at a press conference in Kiev at the end of Euro 2012. “Where do we stop?” He asked. Platini has consistently rationalised his Luddite views with the argument that football should be the same sport at all levels and, therefore, because technology cannot be available on Hackney Marshes it shouldn’t be available in the Premier League. I must admit that I have always thought Platini was a complete idiot for such views. I couldn’t see how his argument stood up to any reality check. Presumably, I have contended, Platini would have opposed the introduction of nets for goals, of corner flags, of even one/two linesman, on the grounds that most of those initiatives were out of the reach of local football when they were introduced. However, I am beginning to believe that Platini is, in fact, a genius. He is clearly advocating the revolutionary idea that the professional game should take on the trappings of Hackney Marshes.
So, we should look forward to a future where the linesmen at professional games will be drawn from supporters of each side and briefed by the referee (assuming there is one), the players will be required to put up the nets and corner flags before the game. The crowds will just rock up when they fancy and be restrained by a rope (if it’s a really big game) round the pitch. Teams could choose to restrict their membership to particular ethnic backgrounds and they could then engage in regular fights on the pitch which spill on to neighboring pitches. In fact, why limit this observation to ethnically based teams, any fights on the pitch should be obligatory. I sense that most real football fans will, by now, be beginning to warm to this theme and to muse on what this would be like and how it might spice up the more anodyne games we sometimes see in the Premier League. And then I woke up! It had all been a surreal dream.
I wandered down to my local tennis club and despite looking long and hard I couldn’t find a Hawkeye system; I watched a local rugby match and there was no TV support for the referee; the same with a local cricket match and so it went on. The answer to Platini’s question – “where do we stop?” – is that we don’t, it’s called progress. And now, having woken up, I realise that my initial reaction was correct, Platini is an idiot.
Professor Chris Brady, Centre for Sports Business, Salford University Business School
The views of our regular columnists are independent, and as such do not represent those of Leaders in Football.